CERC CAMS

CAMS air quality forecast

What does the forecast mean?

This map shows the latest Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) air quality forecast for the UK using the UK Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI). This index is a 1-10 scale divided into four bands: LOW (1, 2, 3), MODERATE (4, 5, 6), HIGH (7, 8, 9), VERY HIGH (10). The DAQI scale is defined by the UK government who provide accompanying health advice.

The map shows pollution from four individual pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particulates PM10 and PM2.5) and an overall value, which is the highest DAQI value from any pollutant. Forecasts are available for four days ahead. The maps are updated every morning as new forecasts are issued by CAMS. The forecast for the fourth day is normally available on the map by 11:00 UK time each day; before this time the map will show 'No Data'.

The CAMS forecasts give a good indication of expected pollution levels across the UK over the coming days. However, they do not capture local variation in pollution such as high levels close to busy roads, because each point on the map represents average levels over a 12km square. By contrast, the airTEXT forecast for London does capture these local variations because it uses the ADMS-Urban dispersion system to explicitly represent approximately 30,000 roads and other sources of pollution.

How is the forecast made?

The UK CAMS forecasts shown here are taken from the CAMS Regional Ensemble system, which gives forecasts at 12km resolution on a domain covering the whole of Europe. The Ensemble forecast is the median of the forecasts from 7 different state-of-the-art atmospheric modelling systems from institutions across Europe, which all use the same emissions data, the same weather forecast data and the same boundary conditions (from the CAMS Global forecast system) and combine these with Earth observation data to provide air quality forecasts.

Who makes the forecast?

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) consolidates many years of preparatory research and development that was funded by the European Union in the form of the series of MACC projects (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate). MACC brought together partner organisations from across Europe with expertise in areas such as environmental monitoring and forecasting, operational forecasting services, and atmospheric composition research. CERC was a partner in the part of MACC that focused on interaction between MACC services and their users. Data from CAMS is freely available for anyone to use.

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Further information is available from the following external links: